Seeing double? That is alright! We are introducing a new member in AutismWorks and his name is Tyler. Tyler, Tiny Tyler, Little Tyler, Puppet Tyler, however you would like to call him; I tend to change up the name every so often for the fun of it.
Who is this Tyler? That is what I am still attempting to figure out. Just getting to know him as I introduced him not too long ago. The humble beginnings started when we wanted to come up with ideas involving kids and the topic of autism. I have been aware of this muppet that has been introduced in the show, Sesame Street, and their take is pretty fair and different. Nothing to really say about how others portray autism using puppets other then I support their takes on the topic; I just know that when I would do it, it would be coming from someone that lives and negotiates with autism every day.
The puppet version of Tyler was highly encouraged by my team. I was very much against the idea because for one, I thought it was far too...
There was a humongous opportunity I took this year! The opportunity to speak at an elementary school in Kirkland, Washington! I was so excited about it! One of the first times in a long time of speaking in person in front of people and not in front of a camera. Especially when children are involved, then I was really looking forward to speaking at the event! Wanted it to be near perfect for the kids.
The topic that the teachers wanted me to focus on talking about was all about acceptance, community, and never dissing your ability. Completed the outline, practiced, and was off to the races! This was also the very first time I have done a keynote event without anyone with me. Normally, I would be accompanied by either my dad or my mom, but on that day, it had to be me; Everyone else was occupied. Population: ONE! Literally!
Was not as bad as I thought it would be. I now want more of it! Check in at the motel, get settled, explore a bit, enjoy some recreational activities, and be ready...
Ever had something like this happen to you? You have done something that you were so not proud of and you know it was so bad you may have gotten the wrong impression from others or even yourself that you just want to hide from everyone because the mistake was that bad?
Yeah; me too.
It hurts! Believe me, I have had my fair share of incredibly embarrassing mistakes; and many mistakes after that. Many many many more! I am ONE to tell you that these mistakes have never been intentional; if they were, I probably would not be out there being a keynote speaker. I could go on and on about the large majority of these mistakes here, but this is not a good time to talk about them for now; granted, thinking back, they were all kinds of bitter-sweetness and worthy of long lasting scars, but not today. This is about how to recover from them. Here is how it worked for me.
To be touched in a way that shows compassion and love was difficult for me to fully process.
At the middle school dances, the girls had open arms, but I thought they just wanted two high-fives. Then they came up to me and gave me a big hug. This happened a lot! Almost every time, I was very surprised and would just freeze. I knew they were just being friendly and kind, but it was very uncomfortable for me. For a while that is.
I was used to receiving hugs from family members, but hugs from other people? “What is going on?” I would ask myself. Being touched was a huge thing for me growing up. There were rules I needed to follow. I needed to keep my hands to myself unless I was shaking someone’s hand when introducing myself. That was it. Those were the rules. So when someone I didn’t know gave me a hug I wanted to be kind and not reject the offer; as a matter of fact, I welcomed it.
In my head, this entire situation felt very weird and odd. I didn’t want...
I sat in my office chair and committed myself to one of the dangerous things I could do at the time. Sit down and ponder. Thinking is dangerous to me. I tend to say it when joking around, but as I have mentioned in the books I’ve published and in some of my keynote speeches, the mind can play devious and mischievous tricks on people with autism. No denials in that statement on my side, I have said before there have been multiple sides of Tyler McNamer and we ended up fighting with each other because of our differences.
One topic he mentioned while I was sitting there was the idea of “The Perfect Year.” I cooperated with myself and let him speak on what he meant by that. He brought up separate days we happened to be in areas where we saw a couple of familiar faces that we used to see at school. The opportunity could not have been any more open. They were right in front of me and I encouraged myself to go up to them and say hi.
But I couldn’t.
Why did I do...
Recently, I gave three keynote speeches. One in Pennsylvania, one in Texas, and the other in Maine. Virtually! Close enough. Even when I saw people through the video cameras, I felt well cultured at each of these keynote events, and I’m so excited to share what I observed and shared at these events.
I was privileged to speak at three different locations.
That’s not counting the adorable accents on all three events. The only thing missing is that I would have loved to travel to each location and meet everyone in person. It makes me so happy to spend a few days in each state to explore and experience the different cultures right here in the United States. After my speaking engagements I enjoy celebrating afterwards.
Speaking of celebrations, that topic was...
When folks ask me how I think, I say I think in patterns.
Little known secret, I have always been so fascinated with patterns. What kind of patterns? Any kind of pattern of course! You see them in clothing, in houses, in food, in business practices and so on.
It all started back in kindergarten when I was given a book that was all about patterns. For example, I remember the pattern that goes “shirt, pants, pants, pants, SHIRT, pants, pants, pants, shirt” then it asks what comes after “shirt”? It was an easy simple exercise in understanding patterns and I really enjoyed those activity books involving them. The answer was “pants” in case you were wondering. As I’m typing this, I began to realize that I am more into jeans than I am with shorts or long johns.
Speaking of pants, just recently I have found a brand of jeans with my name on it which is “Tyler”. I didn’t hesitate to buy a pair because I needed new jeans anyway. This...
I don’t fear anything. Well, maybe with the exception of dinosaurs, those creatures scare me. Okay, fine, I’m not entirely made of stone and I do fear a lot of things, and it’s the right kind of fear. Though the rumors were confirmed to be true that when I was younger I did not fear many things even if they were extremely dangerous. Like crossing a street with a lot of traffic, walking outside my house in the middle of the night, making my way to a swimming pool without anyone knowing, being around people that were a bad influence on me, and being in sports that would make me sore and bleed. Fear was never a priority for me back then. It felt like it was just an illusion for a long time until I learned from my teachers and parents that having healthy fears were for my protection. The kind of protection that allows me to keep doing activities and literally stay alive.
I know how important it is to fear certain things that will protect you and keep you going....
It’s an exciting world! Go out and explore it! Not talking about virtual worlds in the video games, because that would be far too easy; I love a good challenge, and I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and discover the world.
The list goes on. Are you missing out on any of them? Depends on how you look at it. You could be missing out on something so horrible that you may feel so joyful to not have to suffer through the experience. And that is okay.
But you will never know unless you try.
The worst experience, or one of them, was going out to the drag races. Those chaotic events are full of cars so loud they rival thunder! I have talked about the experience on an earlier blog so I’ll keep it small and simple. Dad wanted to challenge me, I didn’t know what was going on, I experienced all of the chaos, the jetskis didn’t sound as loud after the events. Feel free to read the full story...